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Remember to Breathe

Written by First Year Rep, Noah Mcilveen


Entering university this past August was probably the furthest away from myself I had ever been. My brain was filled with confusion, fear, and insecurity. The thought of moving across the country without knowing a single soul to pursue a degree I dreamt of for ages was simply terrifying. To add more stress to the equation was simply unthinkable, but having to step into the ring and box a stranger was even less bearable.


At this point, I’d had one amateur boxing fight, several months prior. I had been boxing for six years at a non-profit boxing club, so when asked to fight in their charity boxing event to raise money for the gym (literally a week before the fight) I had no choice but to say… “Yes, of course!”


I remember the week leading up to the fight feeling so out of it with no gas in the tank. It was hard to bring myself to do simple day-to-day activities. Waking up took a lot of work to do, eating was hard, and getting out of my room was even harder. I couldn’t focus during training, and I didn’t even bother to watch my weight –so at the weigh-in I ended up being five pounds heavier than my opponent. On top of all of this, I had never been away from my parents for more than a week, so how was I supposed to manage moving all the way to Kingston for four years?


As I was skipping and getting prepared for the fight I briefly contemplated making a run for it, so that I wouldn’t have to fight. But I quickly snapped back to reality and realized I had to step in the ring. The feelings of isolation overcame me and I felt absolutely shit scared. I finally felt an ounce of courage to turn to one of my coaches and say; wtf am I doing? I don’t want to do this, I’m scared… That’s when he told me something that I have carried forward with me in university to this day, “Remember to breathe. Deep breaths. Just breathe.”


That small bit of such simple advice has helped me unimaginably through very anxiety ridden times here at Queen’s. It has given me the confidence to enter university knowing I could push myself even when I didn’t know I had it in me.

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